Fri, Sep 25, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Illegal logging crew arrested near New Taipei City: police

ANCIENT STOCKPILE:Police said the loggers had stockpiled about 10 tonnes of logs, some of which were from trees that were 700 years old

Staff writer, with CNA

Police yesterday said that earlier this week they arrested a logging crew that was illegally cutting precious wood species such as stout camphors, incense cedars, redwoods and beeches in mountainous areas of national forests near Wulai District (烏來) in New Taipei City.

The nine people arrested were found to have stockpiled about 10 tonnes of logs from the trees, valued at an estimated NT$100 million (US$3 million), police said.

The stock included several incense cedar burls from trees that were 700 to 800 years old, police said.

Despite illegal logging carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years, many consider it worth the risk because it is a lucrative business.

Police said illegal logging crews typically operate during the typhoon season so that they can float logs down rivers when there is torrential rain and mudflows.

They then collect the logs along riverbanks and sell them, police said.

The Forestry Act (森林法) says people are permitted to salvage driftwood along riverbanks one month after heavy rains or a storm.

However, the law says that logs of precious wood as defined by the Council of Agriculture must not be gathered without permission.

According to a police source, illegal logging has not only damaged precious wood resources, but also caused serious water and soil conservation problems.

Huge mudslides that occurred in Wulai as a result of Typhoon Soudelor in August might have resulted from illegal logging, the source said.

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